I was fourteen when my husband asked me to marry him.: Becoming Minnesotan

Anna Amaya in her new home, Moorhead, Minnesota, July 2, 2000.
  • Name - Anna Amaya
  • Age at interview - 53
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - Second Generation American
  • Date of Interview - 01.01.2010
  • Anna and Armando Amaya at their wedding reception, Moorhead, Minnesota, 1972.
    Armando and Anna Amaya dancing at their wedding reception, Moorhead, Minnesota.

    Javascript is required to view this map.

    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Traditions & Values: What makes up “culture”?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    The Quinceañera is a special tradition found throughout Latin America and commonly celebrated in the U.S. It is a party celebrating a girl’s fifteenth birthday and her entry into womanhood. The party always includes waltzing or other dances and the birthday girl wears a big formal dress and often a tiara. In Mexico the celebration may also include a Mass at church.

    To learn more about Latino history and culture, visit our Latino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Anna Amaya 1
    1:60 Minutes | 1.92Mb


    Narrator: Anna Amaya (AA)

    Interviewer: Abner Arauza (AbA)

    AA: I was fourteen when my husband asked me to marry him.

    AbA: Fourteen?

    AA: I was fourteen years old. He left me engaged for year. My dad was totally against it cause I was my dad’s favorite. There was eleven of us. I’ve got ten brothers and sisters. My dad was totally, totally against it. But my mom said, “If you want to marry her, you come back next year and you can marry her.” And the reason for that was because she told my dad, “If we don’t let her get married through the church, the right way, he will come, he will take her.” My dad took my mom and she didn’t get to see her mom for ten years. And she said, “I don’t want that for my daughter. So if they want to wait, next year when they come back, we’ll make their wedding.” And I got married here in Moorhead at the Catholic Church, at Saint Joseph’s.

    AbA: Interesting. So you had to wait a year?

    AA: Yes. It was after the migrant season. They went to Texas. You know, my mom probably figured in that year, he’ll either get married down there or do some…and you’ll forget about him. No, when he came back, we did all the process. And at that time, the father that was teaching at Saint Joseph’s was from Mexico and down there, you can get married young. But we didn’t realize that I was way too young. So what happened, we had to get the bishop from Crookston to give us that it was okay, that we were doing everything right. We had to go to classes. Yeah. So we’ve been married for thirty-seven years.

    AbA: Wow. So he wanted to marry you at fourteen, but married you at fifteen?

    AA: Yes. He left me engaged at fourteen. He was nineteen. I was fifteen and he was twenty-one when we got married.

    AbA: So instead of a quinceañera, you had a real wedding?

    AA: Yes. I got married. I had like my quinceañera. I had like twelve bridesmaids. I had a big, big wedding.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Adjective:  Agreed to be married.


    Noun: Traveler or worker who moves from one region or country to another.


    Noun: The celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and in communities of immigrants from Latin America.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 2160